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The Heidelberg Catechism

Third Part: Gratitude (qq. 86–129)

(back to Second Part)

Sanctification

Lord’s Day 32

86. Since, then, we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we do good works?

Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing,1 and that He be glorified through us;2 then also, that we ourselves may be assured by our faith by the fruits thereof;3 and by our godly walk win also others to Christ.4

1 Rom 6:13, 12:1-2; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Pt 2:5-10; 2 Mt 5:16; 1 Cor 6:19-20; 1 Pt 2:12; 3 Mt 7:17-18; Gal 5:6, 22-24; 2 Pt 1:10-11; 4 Mt 5:14-16; Rom 14:17-19; 1 Pt 2:12, 3:1-2; 2 Pt 1:10

87. Can they, then, not be saved who do not turn to God from their unthankful, impenitent life?

By no means, for, as Scripture says, no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like shall inherit the kingdom of God.1

1 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5-6; 1 Jn 3:14-15

Lord’s Day 33

88. In how many things does true repentance or conversion consist?

In two things: the dying of the old man, and the making alive of the new.1

1 Rom 6:4-6; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10

89. What is the dying of the old man?

Heartfelt sorrow for sin, causing us to hate and turn from it always more and more.1

1 Ps 51:3-4, 17; Joel 2:12-13; Rom 8:12-13; 2 Cor 7:10

90. What is the making alive of the new man?

Heartfelt joy in God through Christ,1 causing us to take delight in living according to the will of God in all good works.2

1 Ps 51:8, 12; Isa 57:15; Rom 5:1, 14:17; 2 Rom 6:10-11, 7:22, 8:10-11; Gal 2:20

91. What are good works?

Those only which proceed from true faith,1 and are done according to the Law of God,2 unto His glory,3 and not such as rest on our own opinion4 or the commandments of men.5

1 Jn 15:5; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6; 2 Lev 18:4; 1 Sam 15:22; Eph 2:10; 3 1 Cor 10:31; 4Deut 12:32; Isa 29:13; Ezek 20:18, 20; 5 Num 15:39; Mt 15:7-9

The Ten Commandments

92. What is the Law of God?

God spoke all these words, saying:

First Commandment

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Second Commandment

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing covenant faithfulness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Fourth Commandment

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Fifth Commandment

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Sixth Commandment

“You shall not murder.

Seventh Commandment

“You shall not commit adultery.

Eighth Commandment

“You shall not steal.

Ninth Commandment

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Tenth Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbors.”1

1 Ex 20; Deut 5; Ps 119:9; Mt 5:17-19; Rom 3:31, 10:5

Lord’s Day 34

93. How are these Commandments divided?

Into two tables:1 the first of which teaches, in four commandments, what duties we owe to God; the second, in six, what duties we owe to our neighbor.2

1 Ex 34:28; Deut 4:13; 2 Mt 22:37-40

First Commandment

94. What does God require in the first Commandment?

That, on peril of my soul’s salvation, I avoid and flee all idolatry,1 sorcery, enchantments,2 invocation of saints or of other creatures;3 and that I rightly acknowledge the only true God,4 trust in Him alone,5 with all humility6 and patience7 expect all good from Him only,8 and love,9 fear,10 and honor 11 Him with my whole heart; so as rather to renounce all creatures than to do the least thing against His will.12

1 1 Cor 6:9-10, 10:5-14; 1 Jn 5:21; 2 Lev 19:31; Deut 18:9-12; 3 Mt 4:10; Rev 19:10, 22:8-9; 4 Jn 17:3; 5 Jer 17:5, 7; 6 1 Pt 5:5-6; 7 Rom 5:3-4; 1 Cor 10:10; Php 2:14; Col 1:10-11; Heb 10:36; 8 Ps 104:27-30; Isa 45:6-7; Jas 1:17; 9 Deut 6:5 [Mt 22:37]; 10Deut 6:2; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7, 9:10; Mt 10:28; 1Pt 1:7; 11 Deut 6:13 [Mt 4:10], 10:20;12 Mt 5:29-30, 10:37-39; Acts 5:29

95. What is idolatry?

Idolatry is to conceive or have something else in which to place our trust instead of, or besides, the one true God who has revealed Himself in His Word.1

1 1 Chron 16:26; Ps 62:5-7, 73:25-26, 81:8-9; Mt 6:24; Jn 2:23, 5:23; Gal 4:8-9; Eph 2:12, 5:5; Php 3:19; 2 Jn 9

Second Commandment

Lord’s Day 35

96. What does God require in the second Commandment?

That we in no way make any image of God,1 nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded us in His Word.2

1 Deut 4:15-19; Isa 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom 1:22-24; 2 Lev 10:1-7; Deut 4:23-24, 12:30-32; 1 Sam 15:22-23; Mt 15:9; Jn 4:23-24

97. May we not make any image at all?

God may not and cannot be imaged in any way; as for creatures, though they may indeed be imaged, yet God forbids the making or keeping of any likeness of them, either to worship them or to serve God by them.1

1 Ex 23:24-25, 34:13-14, 17; Num 33:52; Deut 7:5, 12:3, 16:22; 2 Kgs 18:4-5; Isa 40:25; Jn 1:18

98. But may not pictures be tolerated in churches as books for the people?

No, for we should not be wiser than God, who will not have His people taught by dumb idols,1 but by the lively preaching of His Word.2

1 Ps 135:15-18; Jer 10:8; Hab 2:18-20; 2 Rom 10:14-17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:19

Third Commandment

Lord’s Day 36

99. What is required in the third Commandment?

That we must not by cursing,1 or by false swearing,2 nor yet by unnecessary oaths,3profane or abuse the name of God; nor even by our silence4 and connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; and in summary, that we use the holy name of God in no other way than with fear and reverence,5 so that He may be rightly confessed6 and worshiped7 by us, and be glorified in all our words and works.8

1 Lev 24:10-17; 2 Lev 19:12; 3 Mt 5:37; Jas 5:12; 4 Lev 5:1; Prov 29:24; 5 Ps 99:1-5; Isa 45:23; Jer 4:2; 6 Mt 10:32-33; Rom 10:9-10; 7 Ps 50:14-15; 1 Tim 2:8; 8 Rom 2:24; Col 3:16-17; 1 Tim 6:1; 1 Pt 3:15

100. Is the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so grievous a sin that His wrath is kindled against those also who do not help as much as they can to hinder and forbid it?

Yes, truly,1 for no sin is greater and more provoking to God than the profaning of His name; wherefore He even commanded it to be punished with death.2

1 Lev 5:1; 2 Lev 19:12, 24:15-16; Prov 29:24-25

Lord’s Day 37

101. But may we swear reverently by the name of God?

Yes, when the magistrate requires it, or when it may be needful otherwise, to maintain and promote fidelity and truth to the glory of God and our neighbor’s good; for such an oath is grounded in God’s Word,1 and therefore was rightly used by the saints in the Old and New Testaments.2

1 Deut 6:13, 10:20; Isa 48:1; Jer 4:1-2; Heb 6:16; 2 Gen 21:24, 31:53-54; Josh 9:15, 19; 1 Sam 24:22; 1 Kgs 1:29-30; Rom 1:9; 2 Cor 1:23

102. May we swear by “the saints” or by any other creatures?

No, for a lawful oath is a calling upon God, that He, as the only searcher of hearts, may bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely;1 which honor is due to no creature.2

1 Rom 9:1; 2 Cor 1:23; 2 Jer 5:7; Isa 65:16; Mt 5:34-37, 23:16-22; Jas 5:12

Fourth Commandment

Lord’s Day 38

103. What does God require in the fourth Commandment?

In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained,1 and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church2 to learn the Word of God,3 to use the Holy Sacraments,4 to call publicly upon the Lord,5and to give Christian alms.6 In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting Sabbath.7

1 Dt 6:4-9, 20-25; 1 Cor 9:13-14; 1 Tim 2:2, 3:13-17, 4:13-14, 5:17; Tit 1:5; 2 Dt 12:5-12; Ps 40:9-11, 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; 2 Tim 2:2, 15; Heb 10:23-25; 3 Rom 10:14-17; 1 Cor 14:19-33; 1 Tim 4:13; 4 1 Cor 11:23-24, 33; 5 1 Cor 14:16; Col 3:16; 1 Tim 2:1-2, 8-10; 6 Ps 50:14; 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8-9; 7 Isa 66:23; Acts 20:7; Gal 6:6; Heb 4:9-11

Fifth Commandment

Lord’s Day 39

104. What does God require in the fifth Commandment?

That I show all honor, love, and faithfulness to my father and mother,1 and to all in authority over me,2 submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction, and also bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God’s will to govern us by their hand.3

1 Gen 9:24-25; Ex 21:17; Prov 1:8-9, 4:1, 15:20, 20:20; Eph 6:1-6, 22; Col 3:18, 20-24; 2 Mt 22:21; Rom 13:1, 2-7; 1 Pt 2:18; 3 Deut 27:16, 32:24; Prov 13:24, 30:17; Eph 6:4, 9; Col 3:19, 21; 1 Tim 2:1-2, 5:17; Heb 13:17-18

Sixth Commandment

Lord’s Day 40

105. What does God require in the sixth Commandment?

That I do not revile, hate, insult, or kill my neighbor either in thought, word, or gesture, much less in deed, whether by myself or by another,1 but lay aside all desire of revenge;2 moreover, that I do not harm myself, nor willfully run into any danger.3 Wherefore also to restrain murder the magistrate is armed with the sword.4

1 Gen 9:6; Lev 19:17-18; Mt 5:21-22, 26:52; 2 Prov 25:21-22; Mt 5:25, 18:35; Rom 1:19, 12:19; Eph 4:26; 3 Mt 4:7, 26:52; Rom 13:11-14; Col 2:23; 4 Gen 9:6; Ex 21:14; Mt 18:6-7; Rom 13:4

106. Does this Commandment speak only of killing?

No, but in forbidding murder God teaches us that He abhors its very root, namely, envy,1 hatred,2 anger,3 and desire of revenge; and that in His sight all these are hidden murder.4

1 Rom 1:28-32; 2 1 Jn 2:9-11; 3 Gal 5:19-21; Jas 2:13; 4 1 Jn 3:15; Jas 1:19, 3:16

107. But is this all that is required: that we do not kill our neighbor?

No, for in condemning envy, hatred, and anger, God requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves,1 to show patience, peace, meekness,2 mercy,3 and kindness4 toward him, and to prevent his hurt as much as possible;5 also, to do good even unto our enemies.6

1 Mt 7:12, 22:39; Rom 12:10; 2 Rom 12:18; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 4:2; 3 Mt 5:7; Lk 6:36; 4Rom 12:10; 5 Ex 23:5; 6 Mt Mt. 5:9, 44-45; Rom 12:20-21; Col 3:12-14.

Seventh Commandment

Lord’s Day 41

108. What does the seventh Commandment teach us?

That all unchastity is accursed of God,1 and that we should therefore loathe it with our whole heart,2 and live chastely and modestly,3 whether in holy wedlock or single life.4

1 Lev 18:27-30; Eph 5:3-5; 2 Jude 22-23; 3 1 Thes 4:3-8; 4 1 Cor 7:1-9; Heb 13:4

109. Does God forbid nothing more in this Commandment than adultery and such gross sins?

Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Spirit, it is His will that we keep both pure and holy; therefore, He forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words,1thoughts, desires,2 and whatever may entice thereto.3

1 1 Cor 6:18-20; Eph 5:3-4; 2 Mt 5:27-30; 3 1 Cor 15:33; Eph 5:18-19

Eight Commandment

Lord’s Day 42

110. What does God forbid in the eighth Commandment?

God forbids not only such theft1 and robbery2 as are punished by the government, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to get our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or by deceit,3 such as unjust weights,4 lengths, measures,5 goods, coins, usury,6 or by any means forbidden of God; also all covetousness7 and the misuse and waste of His gifts.8

1 1 Cor 6:10; 2 Ex 22:1; 1 Cor 5:9-10, 6:9-10; 3 Mic 6:9-11; Mk 3:14; Lk 3:14; Jas 1:5-6; 1 Thes 4:6; 4 Prov 11:1, 16:11; 5 Deut 25:13-15; Ezek 45:9-10; 6 Ps 15:5; Lk 6:35; 7Lk 12:15; 1 Cor 6:10; Eph 5:5; 8 Prov 5:10, 21:20, 23:20-21; Lk 16:10-13; Jn 6:12; 1 Tim 6:10

111. But what does God require of you in this Commandment?

That I further my neighbor’s good where I can and may, deal with him as I would have others deal with me,1 and labor faithfully, so that I may be able to help the poor in their need.2

1 Mt 7:12; 2 Gen 3:19; Isa 58:5-10; Gal 6:9-10; Eph 4:28; Php 2:4; 1 Tim 6:6-7

Ninth Commandment

Lord’s Day 43

112. What does the ninth Commandment require?

That I bear false witness against no one,1 twist no one’s words,2 be no backbiter or slanderer,3 join in condemning no one unheard or rashly;4 but that on pain of God’s heavy wrath, I avoid all lying and deceit5 as the very works of the devil;6 and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs, I love, speak honestly, and confess the truth;7 also, insofar as I can, defend and promote my neighbor’s good name.8

1 Prov 19:5, 9; 2 Ps 15:3; 3 Rom 1:28-30; 4 Mt 7:1-2; Lk 6:37; 5 Jn 8:44; 6 Prov 12:22, 13:5; 7 1 Cor 13:6; Eph 4:25; 8 Jn 7:24, 51; Col 4:6; 1 Pt 2:21, 23, 3:9, 4:8

Tenth Commandment

Lord’s Day 44

113. What does the tenth Commandment require?

That not even the least inclination or thought against any commandment of God ever enter our heart, but that with our whole heart we continually hate all sin and take pleasure in all righteousness.1

1 Ps 19:7-14, 139:23-24; Prov 4:23; Mt 15:11, 19-20; Rom 7:7-8; Jas 1:14-15

114. Can those who are converted to God keep these Commandments perfectly?

No, but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of such obedience,1 yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live not only according to some, but according to all the Commandments of God.2

1 Ecc 7:20; Rom 7:14-15; 1 Cor 13:9; 1 Jn 1:8-10; 2 Job 9:2-3; Ps 1:1-2, 19:13; Rom 7:22-25; Php 3:12-16; Jas 2:10-11

115. Why then does God so strictly enjoin the Ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?

First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature,1 and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ;2 second, that without ceasing we diligently ask God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we be renewed more and more after the image of God, until we attain the goal of perfection after this life.3

1 Ps 32:5; 1 Jn 1:9; 2 Rom 3:19-26, 7:7, 24-25; 3 Ps 51:12; Mt 5:6; 1 Cor 9:24-25; Php 3:12-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3

The Lord’s Prayer

Lord’s Day 45

116. Why is prayer necessary for Christians?

Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us,1 and because God will give His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who earnestly and without ceasing ask them of Him, and render thanks unto Him for them.2

1 Ps 50:14-15, 116:12-19; 1 Thes 5:16-18; 2 Mt 7:7-8, 13:12; Lk 11:9-13; Eph 6:18

117. What belongs to such prayer which is acceptable to God and which He will hear?

First, that with our whole heart1 we call only upon the one true God, who has revealed Himself to us in His Word,2 for all that He has commanded us to ask of Him;3 second, that we thoroughly know our need and misery,4 so as to humble ourselves in the presence of His divine majesty;5 third, that we be firmly assured6that notwithstanding our unworthiness He will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer,7 as He has promised us in His Word.8

1 Jn 4:22-24; 2 Rom 8:26; 1 Jn 5:14; 3 Ps 27:8; 4 2 Chron 20:12; 5 Ps 2:10, 34:18; Isa 66:2; 6 Rom 10:14; Jas 1:6; 7 Dan 9:17-18; Jn 14:13-16; 8 Ps 143:1; Mt 7:8; Lk 18:13

118. What has God commanded us to ask of Him?

All things necessary for soul and body,1 which Christ our Lord comprised in the prayer which He Himself taught us.

1 Mt 6:33; Php 4:6; Jas 1:17; 1 Pt 5:7

119. What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.1

1 Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4

Lord’s Day 46

120. Why did Christ command us to address God thus: “Our Father?”

To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence for and trust in God, which are to be the ground of our prayer, namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our parents refuse us earthly things.1

1 Isa 63:16; Mt 7:9-11; Lk 11:11-13; 1 Pt 1:17

121. Why is it added: “Who art in heaven?”

That we might have no earthly thought of the heavenly majesty of God,1 and from His almighty power expect all things necessary for body and soul.2

1 Jer 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-27; 2 1 Kgs 8:28; Ps 115:3; Mt 6:25-34; Rom 8:10:12, 31-32

Lord’s Day 47

122. What is the first petition?

“Hallowed be Thy name;” that is, grant us, first, rightly to know You, 1 and to hallow, magnify, and praise You in all Your works, in which Your power, goodness, justice, mercy, and truth shine forth;2 and further, that we so order our whole life, our thoughts, words, and deeds, that Your name may not be blasphemed, but honored and praised on our account.3

1 Ps 119:105; Jer 9:23-24, 31:33-34; Mt 16:17; Jn 17:3; Jas 1:5; 2 Ex 34:5-8; Ps 119:137, Ps 145; Jer 32:16-20; Lk 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom 11:33-36; 3 Ps 71:8, 16, 92:1-2, 100:3-4, 115:1; Mt 5:16; Eph 1:16-17

Lord’s Day 48

123. What is the second petition?

“Thy kingdom come;” that is, so govern us by Your Word and Spirit, that we submit ourselves to You always more and more;1 preserve and increase Your Church;2destroy the works of the devil, every power that exalts itself against You, and all wicked devices formed against Your Holy Word,3 until the fullness of Your kingdom come,4 wherein You shall be all in all.5

1 Ps 119:5, 105, 143:10; Mt 6:33; 2 Ps 51:18, 122:6-7; Mt 16:18; Acts 2:42-47; 3 Rom 16:20; 1 Jn 3:8; 4 Rom 8:22-23; Rev 22:17, 20; 5 Ps 102:12-13; 1 Cor 15:24, 28; Heb 12:28; Rev 11:15

Lord’s Day 49

124. What is the third petition?

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven;” that is, grant that we and all men renounce our own will,1 and without gainsaying obey Your will, which alone is good;2so that every one may fulfill his office and calling as willingly and faithfully 3 as the angels do in heaven.4

1 Mt 16:24; 2 Mt 7:21, 16:24-26; Lk 22:42; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-12; 3 1 Cor 7:17-24; Eph 6:5-9; 4 Ps 103:20-21; Rom 12:2; Heb 13:21

Lord’s Day 50

125. What is the fourth petition?

“Give us this day our daily bread;” that is, be pleased to provide for all our bodily need,1 so that we may thereby acknowledge that You are the only fountain of all good,2 and that without Your blessing neither our care and labor, nor You gifts, can profit us;3 that we may therefore withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it alone in You.4

1 Ps 104:27-30, 145:15-16; Mt 6:25-34; 2 Acts 14:17, 17:25-28; Jas 1:17; 3 Deut 8:3; Ps 37:3-7, 16-17, 127:1-2; 1 Cor 15:58; 4 Ps 55:22, Ps 62, Ps 146; Jer 17:1-8; Heb 13:5-6

Lord’s Day 51

126. What is the fifth petition?

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” that is, be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us miserable sinners our manifold transgressions, nor the evil which always cleaves to us;1 as we also find this witness of Your grace in us, that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbor.2

1 Ps 51:1-7, 143:2; Rom 8:1; 1 Jn 2:1-2; 2 Ps 51:5-7; Mt 6:14-15, 18:21-35; Eph 1:7

Lord’s Day 52

127. What is the sixth petition?

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;” that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment,1 and besides, our deadly enemies, the devil,2 the world,3 and our own flesh,4 assail us without ceasing, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may make firm stand against them and not be overcome in this spiritual warfare,5 until finally complete victory is ours.6

1 Ps 103:14-16; Jn 15:1-5; 2 2 Cor 11:14; Eph 6:10-13; 1 Pt 5:8-9; 3 Jn 15:18-21; 4Rom 7:23; Gal 5:17; 5 Mt 10:19-20, 26:41; Mk 13:33; Rom 5:3-5; 6 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Cor 12:7; 1 Thes 3:13, 5:23-24

128. How do you close this prayer?

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever;” that is, all this we ask of You, because as our King, having power over all things, You are willing and able to give us all good;1 and that thereby not we, but Your holy name may be glorified for ever.2

1 Rom 10:11-13; 2 Pt 2:9; 2 Ps 115:1; Jer 33:8-9; Jn 14:13

129. What is the meaning of the word “Amen?”

“Amen” means: so shall it truly and surely be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of Him.1

1 Ps 145:18-19; Isa 65:24; 2 Cor 1:20; 2 Tim 2:13

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Third Part: Gratitude (qq. 86–129)

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Sanctification

Lord’s Day 32

86. Since, then, we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we do good works?

Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing,1 and that He be glorified through us;2 then also, that we ourselves may be assured by our faith by the fruits thereof;3 and by our godly walk win also others to Christ.4

1 Rom 6:13, 12:1-2; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Pt 2:5-10; 2 Mt 5:16; 1 Cor 6:19-20; 1 Pt 2:12; 3 Mt 7:17-18; Gal 5:6, 22-24; 2 Pt 1:10-11; 4 Mt 5:14-16; Rom 14:17-19; 1 Pt 2:12, 3:1-2; 2 Pt 1:10

87. Can they, then, not be saved who do not turn to God from their unthankful, impenitent life?

By no means, for, as Scripture says, no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like shall inherit the kingdom of God.1

1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5-6; 1 Jn 3:14-15

Lord’s Day 33

88. In how many things does true repentance or conversion consist?

In two things: the dying of the old man, and the making alive of the new.1

1 Rom 6:4-6; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10

89. What is the dying of the old man?

Heartfelt sorrow for sin, causing us to hate and turn from it always more and more.1

1 Ps 51:3-4, 17; Joel 2:12-13; Rom 8:12-13; 2 Cor 7:10

90. What is the making alive of the new man?

Heartfelt joy in God through Christ,1 causing us to take delight in living according to the will of God in all good works.2

1 Ps 51:8, 12; Isa 57:15; Rom 5:1, 14:17; 2 Rom 6:10-11, 7:22, 8:10-11; Gal 2:20

91. What are good works?

Those only which proceed from true faith,1 and are done according to the Law of God,2 unto His glory,and not such as rest on our own opinion4 or the commandments of men.5

1 Jn 15:5; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6; 2 Lev 18:4; 1 Sam 15:22; Eph 2:10; 3 1 Cor 10:31; 4 Deut 12:32; Isa 29:13; Ezek 20:18, 20; 5 Num 15:39; Mt 15:7-9

The Ten Commandments

92. What is the Law of God?

God spoke all these words, saying:

First Commandment

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Second Commandment

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing covenant faithfulness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Fourth Commandment

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Fifth Commandment

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Sixth Commandment

“You shall not murder.

Seventh Commandment

“You shall not commit adultery.

Eighth Commandment

“You shall not steal.

Ninth Commandment

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Tenth Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbours.”1

1 Ex 20; Deut 5; Ps 119:9; Mt 5:17-19; Rom 3:31, 10:5

Lord’s Day 34

93. How are these Commandments divided?

Into two tables:1 the first of which teaches, in four commandments, what duties we owe to God; the second, in six, what duties we owe to our neighbour.2

1 Ex 34:28; Deut 4:13; 2 Mt 22:37-40

First Commandment

94. What does God require in the first Commandment?

That, on peril of my soul’s salvation, I avoid and flee all idolatry,1 sorcery, enchantments,2 invocation of saints or of other creatures;3 and that I rightly acknowledge the only true God,4 trust in Him alone,5 with all humility6 and patience7 expect all good from Him only,8 and love,9 fear, 10 and honour 11 Him with my whole heart; so as rather to renounce all creatures than to do the least thing against His will.12

1 1 Cor 6:9-10, 10:5-14; 1 Jn 5:21; 2 Lev 19:31; Deut 18:9-12; 3 Mt 4:10; Rev 19:10, 22:8-9; 4 Jn 17:3; 5 Jer 17:5, 7; 6 1 Pt 5:5-6; 7 Rom 5:3-4; 1 Cor 10:10; Php 2:14; Col 1:10-11; Heb 10:36; 8 Ps 104:27-30; Isa 45:6-7; Jas 1:17; 9 Deut 6:5 [Mt 22:37]; 10 Deut 6:2; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7, 9:10; Mt 10:28; 1Pt 1:7; 11 Deut 6:13 [Mt 4:10], 10:20; 12 Mt 5:29-30, 10:37-39; Acts 5:29

95. What is idolatry?

Idolatry is to conceive or have something else in which to place our trust instead of, or besides, the one true God who has revealed Himself in His Word.1

1 1 Chron 16:26; Ps 62:5-7, 73:25-26, 81:8-9; Mt 6:24; Jn 2:23, 5:23; Gal 4:8-9; Eph 2:12, 5:5; Php 3:19; 2 Jn 9

Second Commandment

Lord’s Day 35

96. What does God require in the second Commandment?

That we in no way make any image of God,1 nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded us in His Word.2

1 Deut 4:15-19; Isa 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom 1:22-24; 2 Lev 10:1-7; Deut 4:23-24, 12:30-32; 1 Sam 15:22-23; Mt 15:9; Jn 4:23-24

97. May we not make any image at all?

God may not and cannot be imaged in any way; as for creatures, though they may indeed be imaged, yet God forbids the making or keeping of any likeness of them, either to worship them or to serve God by them.1

1 Ex 23:24-25, 34:13-14, 17; Num 33:52; Deut 7:5, 12:3, 16:22; 2 Kgs 18:4-5; Isa 40:25; Jn 1:18

98. But may not pictures be tolerated in churches as books for the people?

No, for we should not be wiser than God, who will not have His people taught by dumb idols,1 but by the lively preaching of His Word.2

1 Ps 135:15-18; Jer 10:8; Hab 2:18-20; 2 Rom 10:14-17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:19

Third Commandment

Lord’s Day 36

99. What is required in the third Commandment?

That we must not by cursing,1 or by false swearing,2 nor yet by unnecessary oaths,3profane or abuse the name of God; nor even by our silence4 and connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; and in summary, that we use the holy name of God in no other way than with fear and reverence,5 so that He may be rightly confessed6 and worshipedby us, and be glorified in all our words and works.8

1 Lev 24:10-17; 2 Lev 19:12; 3 Mt 5:37; Jas 5:12; 4 Lev 5:1; Prov 29:24; 5 Ps 99:1-5; Isa 45:23; Jer 4:2; 6 Mt 10:32-33; Rom 10:9-10; 7 Ps 50:14-15; 1 Tim 2:8; 8 Rom 2:24; Col 3:16-17; 1 Tim 6:1; 1 Pt 3:15

100. Is the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so grievous a sin that His wrath is kindled against those also who do not help as much as they can to hinder and forbid it?

Yes, truly,1 for no sin is greater and more provoking to God than the profaning of His name; wherefore He even commanded it to be punished with death.2

1 Lev 5:1; 2 Lev 19:12, 24:15-16; Prov 29:24-25

Lord’s Day 37

101. But may we swear reverently by the name of God?

Yes, when the magistrate requires it, or when it may be needful otherwise, to maintain and promote fidelity and truth to the glory of God and our neighbour’s good; for such an oath is grounded in God’s Word,1 and therefore was rightly used by the saints in the Old and New Testaments.2

1 Deut 6:13, 10:20; Isa 48:1; Jer 4:1-2; Heb 6:16; 2 Gen 21:24, 31:53-54; Josh 9:15, 19; 1 Sam 24:22; 1 Kgs 1:29-30; Rom 1:9; 2 Cor 1:23

102. May we swear by “the saints” or by any other creatures?

No, for a lawful oath is a calling upon God, that He, as the only searcher of hearts, may bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely;1 which honour is due to no creature.2

1 Rom 9:1; 2 Cor 1:23; 2 Jer 5:7; Isa 65:16; Mt 5:34-37, 23:16-22; Jas 5:12

Fourth Commandment

Lord’s Day 38

103. What does God require in the fourth Commandment?

In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained,1 and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church2 to learn the Word of God,to use the Holy Sacraments,to call publicly upon the Lord,5and to give Christian alms.6 In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting Sabbath.7

1 Dt 6:4-9, 20-25; 1 Cor 9:13-14; 1 Tim 2:2, 3:13-17, 4:13-14, 5:17; Tit 1:5; 2 Dt 12:5-12; Ps 40:9-11, 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; 2 Tim 2:2, 15; Heb 10:23-25; 3 Rom 10:14-17; 1 Cor 14:19-33; 1 Tim 4:13; 4 1 Cor 11:23-24, 33; 5 1 Cor 14:16; Col 3:16; 1 Tim 2:1-2, 8-10; 6 Ps 50:14; 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8-9; 7 Isa 66:23; Acts 20:7; Gal 6:6; Heb 4:9-11

Fifth Commandment

Lord’s Day 39

104. What does God require in the fifth Commandment?

That I show all honour, love, and faithfulness to my father and mother,1 and to all in authority over me,2 submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction, and also bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God’s will to govern us by their hand.3

1 Gen 9:24-25; Ex 21:17; Prov 1:8-9, 4:1, 15:20, 20:20; Eph 6:1-6, 22; Col 3:18, 20-24; 2 Mt 22:21; Rom 13:1, 2-7; 1 Pt 2:18; 3 Deut 27:16, 32:24; Prov 13:24, 30:17; Eph 6:4, 9; Col 3:19, 21; 1 Tim 2:1-2, 5:17; Heb 13:17-18

Sixth Commandment

Lord’s Day 40

105. What does God require in the sixth Commandment?

That I do not revile, hate, insult, or kill my neighbour either in thought, word, or gesture, much less in deed, whether by myself or by another,1 but lay aside all desire of revenge;2 moreover, that I do not harm myself, nor willfully run into any danger.3 Wherefore also to restrain murder the magistrate is armed with the sword.4

1 Gen 9:6; Lev 19:17-18; Mt 5:21-22, 26:52; 2 Prov 25:21-22; Mt 5:25, 18:35; Rom 1:19, 12:19; Eph 4:26; 3 Mt 4:7, 26:52; Rom 13:11-14; Col 2:23; 4 Gen 9:6; Ex 21:14; Mt 18:6-7; Rom 13:4

106. Does this Commandment speak only of killing?

No, but in forbidding murder God teaches us that He abhors its very root, namely, envy,1 hatred,2 anger,3 and desire of revenge; and that in His sight all these are hidden murder.4

1 Rom 1:28-32; 2 1 Jn 2:9-11; 3 Gal 5:19-21; Jas 2:13; 4 1 Jn 3:15; Jas 1:19, 3:16

107. But is this all that is required: that we do not kill our neighbour?

No, for in condemning envy, hatred, and anger, God requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves,1 to show patience, peace, meekness,2 mercy,3 and kindness4 toward him, and to prevent his hurt as much as possible;5 also, to do good even unto our enemies.6

1 Mt 7:12, 22:39; Rom 12:10; 2 Rom 12:18; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 4:2; 3 Mt 5:7; Lk 6:36; 4Rom 12:10; 5 Ex 23:5; 6 Mt Mt. 5:9, 44-45; Rom 12:20-21; Col 3:12-14.

Seventh Commandment

Lord’s Day 41

108. What does the seventh Commandment teach us?

That all unchastity is accursed of God,1 and that we should therefore loathe it with our whole heart,2 and live chastely and modestly,3 whether in holy wedlock or single life.4

1 Lev 18:27-30; Eph 5:3-5; 2 Jude 22-23; 3 1 Thes 4:3-8; 4 1 Cor 7:1-9; Heb 13:4

109. Does God forbid nothing more in this Commandment than adultery and such gross sins?

Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Spirit, it is His will that we keep both pure and holy; therefore, He forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words,1thoughts, desires,2 and whatever may entice thereto.3

1 1 Cor 6:18-20; Eph 5:3-4; 2 Mt 5:27-30; 3 1 Cor 15:33; Eph 5:18-19

Eight Commandment

Lord’s Day 42

110. What does God forbid in the eighth Commandment?

God forbids not only such theft1 and robbery2 as are punished by the government, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to get our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or by deceit,3 such as unjust weights,4 lengths, measures,5 goods, coins, usury,6 or by any means forbidden of God; also all covetousness7 and the misuse and waste of His gifts.8

1 1 Cor 6:10; 2 Ex 22:1; 1 Cor 5:9-10, 6:9-10; 3 Mic 6:9-11; Mk 3:14; Lk 3:14; Jas 1:5-6; 1 Thes 4:6; 4 Prov 11:1, 16:11; 5 Deut 25:13-15; Ezek 45:9-10; 6 Ps 15:5; Lk 6:35; 7Lk 12:15; 1 Cor 6:10; Eph 5:5; 8 Prov 5:10, 21:20, 23:20-21; Lk 16:10-13; Jn 6:12; 1 Tim 6:10

111. But what does God require of you in this Commandment?

That I further my neighbour’s good where I can and may, deal with him as I would have others deal with me,1 and labour faithfully, so that I may be able to help the poor in their need.2

1 Mt 7:12; 2 Gen 3:19; Isa 58:5-10; Gal 6:9-10; Eph 4:28; Php 2:4; 1 Tim 6:6-7

Ninth Commandment

Lord’s Day 43

112. What does the ninth Commandment require?

That I bear false witness against no one,1 twist no one’s words,2 be no backbiter or slanderer,3 join in condemning no one unheard or rashly;4 but that on pain of God’s heavy wrath, I avoid all lying and deceit5 as the very works of the devil;6 and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs, I love, speak honestly, and confess the truth;7 also, insofar as I can, defend and promote my neighbour’s good name.8

1 Prov 19:5, 9; 2 Ps 15:3; 3 Rom 1:28-30; 4 Mt 7:1-2; Lk 6:37; 5 Jn 8:44; 6 Prov 12:22, 13:5; 7 1 Cor 13:6; Eph 4:25; 8 Jn 7:24, 51; Col 4:6; 1 Pt 2:21, 23, 3:9, 4:8

Tenth Commandment

Lord’s Day 44

113. What does the tenth Commandment require?

That not even the least inclination or thought against any commandment of God ever enter our heart, but that with our whole heart we continually hate all sin and take pleasure in all righteousness.1

1 Ps 19:7-14, 139:23-24; Prov 4:23; Mt 15:11, 19-20; Rom 7:7-8; Jas 1:14-15

114. Can those who are converted to God keep these Commandments perfectly?

No, but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of such obedience,1 yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live not only according to some, but according to all the Commandments of God.2

1 Ecc 7:20; Rom 7:14-15; 1 Cor 13:9; 1 Jn 1:8-10; 2 Job 9:2-3; Ps 1:1-2, 19:13; Rom 7:22-25; Php 3:12-16; Jas 2:10-11

115. Why then does God so strictly enjoin the Ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?

First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature,1 and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ;2 second, that without ceasing we diligently ask God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we be renewed more and more after the image of God, until we attain the goal of perfection after this life.3

1 Ps 32:5; 1 Jn 1:9; 2 Rom 3:19-26, 7:7, 24-25; 3 Ps 51:12; Mt 5:6; 1 Cor 9:24-25; Php 3:12-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3

The Lord’s Prayer

Lord’s Day 45

116. Why is prayer necessary for Christians?

Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us,1 and because God will give His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who earnestly and without ceasing ask them of Him, and render thanks unto Him for them.2

1 Ps 50:14-15, 116:12-19; 1 Thes 5:16-18; 2 Mt 7:7-8, 13:12; Lk 11:9-13; Eph 6:18

117. What belongs to such prayer which is acceptable to God and which He will hear?

First, that with our whole heart1 we call only upon the one true God, who has revealed Himself to us in His Word,2 for all that He has commanded us to ask of Him;3 second, that we thoroughly know our need and misery,4 so as to humble ourselves in the presence of His divine majesty;5 third, that we be firmly assured6that notwithstanding our unworthiness He will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer,7 as He has promised us in His Word.8

1 Jn 4:22-24; 2 Rom 8:26; 1 Jn 5:14; 3 Ps 27:8; 4 2 Chron 20:12; 5 Ps 2:10, 34:18; Isa 66:2; 6 Rom 10:14; Jas 1:6; 7 Dan 9:17-18; Jn 14:13-16; 8 Ps 143:1; Mt 7:8; Lk 18:13

118. What has God commanded us to ask of Him?

All things necessary for soul and body,1 which Christ our Lord comprised in the prayer which He Himself taught us.

Mt 6:33; Php 4:6; Jas 1:17; 1 Pt 5:7

119. What is the Lord’s Prayer?

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.1

1 Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4

Lord’s Day 46

120. Why did Christ command us to address God thus: “Our Father?”

To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence for and trust in God, which are to be the ground of our prayer, namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our parents refuse us earthly things.1

1 Isa 63:16; Mt 7:9-11; Lk 11:11-13; 1 Pt 1:17

121. Why is it added: “Who art in heaven?”

That we might have no earthly thought of the heavenly majesty of God,1 and from His almighty power expect all things necessary for body and soul.2

1 Jer 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-27; 2 1 Kgs 8:28; Ps 115:3; Mt 6:25-34; Rom 8:10:12, 31-32

Lord’s Day 47

122. What is the first petition?

“Hallowed be Thy name;” that is, grant us, first, rightly to know You, 1 and to hallow, magnify, and praise You in all Your works, in which Your power, goodness, justice, mercy, and truth shine forth;2 and further, that we so order our whole life, our thoughts, words, and deeds, that Your name may not be blasphemed, but honoured and praised on our account.3

1 Ps 119:105; Jer 9:23-24, 31:33-34; Mt 16:17; Jn 17:3; Jas 1:5; 2 Ex 34:5-8; Ps 119:137, Ps 145; Jer 32:16-20; Lk 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom 11:33-36; 3 Ps 71:8, 16, 92:1-2, 100:3-4, 115:1; Mt 5:16; Eph 1:16-17

Lord’s Day 48

123. What is the second petition?

“Thy kingdom come;” that is, so govern us by Your Word and Spirit, that we submit ourselves to You always more and more;1 preserve and increase Your Church;2destroy the works of the devil, every power that exalts itself against You, and all wicked devices formed against Your Holy Word,3 until the fullness of Your kingdom come,4 wherein You shall be all in all.5

1 Ps 119:5, 105, 143:10; Mt 6:33; 2 Ps 51:18, 122:6-7; Mt 16:18; Acts 2:42-47; 3 Rom 16:20; 1 Jn 3:8; 4 Rom 8:22-23; Rev 22:17, 20; 5 Ps 102:12-13; 1 Cor 15:24, 28; Heb 12:28; Rev 11:15

Lord’s Day 49

124. What is the third petition?

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven;” that is, grant that we and all men renounce our own will,1 and without gainsaying obey Your will, which alone is good;2so that every one may fulfill his office and calling as willingly and faithfully 3 as the angels do in heaven.4

1 Mt 16:24; 2 Mt 7:21, 16:24-26; Lk 22:42; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-12; 3 1 Cor 7:17-24; Eph 6:5-9; 4 Ps 103:20-21; Rom 12:2; Heb 13:21

Lord’s Day 50

125. What is the fourth petition?

“Give us this day our daily bread;” that is, be pleased to provide for all our bodily need,1 so that we may thereby acknowledge that You are the only fountain of all good,2 and that without Your blessing neither our care and labour, nor You gifts, can profit us;3 that we may therefore withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it alone in You.4

Ps 104:27-30, 145:15-16; Mt 6:25-34; 2 Acts 14:17, 17:25-28; Jas 1:17; 3 Deut 8:3; Ps 37:3-7, 16-17, 127:1-2; 1 Cor 15:58; 4 Ps 55:22, Ps 62, Ps 146; Jer 17:1-8; Heb 13:5-6

Lord’s Day 51

126. What is the fifth petition?

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” that is, be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us miserable sinners our manifold transgressions, nor the evil which always cleaves to us;1 as we also find this witness of Your grace in us, that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbour.2

1 Ps 51:1-7, 143:2; Rom 8:1; 1 Jn 2:1-2; 2 Ps 51:5-7; Mt 6:14-15, 18:21-35; Eph 1:7

Lord’s Day 52

127. What is the sixth petition?

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;” that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment,1 and besides, our deadly enemies, the devil,2 the world,3 and our own flesh,assail us without ceasing, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may make firm stand against them and not be overcome in this spiritual warfare,5 until finally complete victory is ours.6

1 Ps 103:14-16; Jn 15:1-5; 2 2 Cor 11:14; Eph 6:10-13; 1 Pt 5:8-9; 3 Jn 15:18-21; 4Rom 7:23; Gal 5:17; 5 Mt 10:19-20, 26:41; Mk 13:33; Rom 5:3-5; 6 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Cor 12:7; 1 Thes 3:13, 5:23-24

128. How do you close this prayer?

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever;” that is, all this we ask of You, because as our King, having power over all things, You are willing and able to give us all good;1 and that thereby not we, but Your holy name may be glorified for ever.2

1 Rom 10:11-13; 2 Pt 2:9; Ps 115:1; Jer 33:8-9; Jn 14:13

129. What is the meaning of the word “Amen?”

“Amen” means: so shall it truly and surely be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of Him.1

Ps 145:18-19; Isa 65:24; 2 Cor 1:20; 2 Tim 2:13

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